this bag full of memories for my friend Julie is almost finished, every knot holds a story
the indigo dyed hand woven linen & moons are by Ulrike Bogdan
I started working on this bag on April 24th and have worked on it for a few hours every day, it has gone through several ugly stages where I had to reconsider what I was trying to do
Jude Hill’s good words after the first ugly phase have helped so much
“ha, the ugly phase is just an in-between we can’t quite understand yet.”
you may have noticed in the first photo I am rereading “The Education of a Gardener” by Russell Page first published in 1962
one of the most beautiful and inspiring books about gardening ever written
talking of gardens and well thought out design
Owl Rock went for a walk with us to the wetlands to observe the way the water moves around it
my friend Peter Webb plant guru extraordinaire is writing a book and has asked if I would like to do a few illustrations! When I first met Pete in the 70’s he was the seed collector for the Melbourne Botanic Gardens. I asked him to write a book way back then so I could illustrate it and now I can, it’s a dream come true!
Sydney Park Wetlands has matured beautifully in the time we have lived here in Newtown
love how these old piers add mystery and a sense of spirit to the space
a friendly blue tongue lizard
13 moons arrived in the mail by Glennis Dolce Shibori Girl
these will keep me happily stitching for a good long while
the gardening work is keeping us busy, the walks to the wetlands are helping us stay a bit grounded and the social isolation measures are lifting a bit, still I put some x’s on the floor in the dining room when our friend Richard visited on Saturday for the first time since March, he noticed that they weren’t exactly 1.5 metres so I will measure them up properly for next weekend!

  1. What pleasure is within…a lovely gift for your friend, a new project is a dream come true. Ahhh. I miss being a gardener. Glad you still are.

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Michelle))) gardening keeps our feet on the ground and hands touching the earth, I hope to keep gardening for the rest of my life!

  2. Rene Walkin says:

    So you see, Mo, thoughts become things. Your desire to illustrate a book has come to pass. All things that come into being were once thoughts. What a beautiful bag you have made for your friend-it is a treasure! So enjoyed this lovely post. x

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((René))) Pete is such an inspiration, he has plants in his DNA! Spoke to Julie on the phone last weekend for the first time in nearly a month, she has recovered from the chemotherapy with the steroids and pain medication keeping her comfortable and at home with her good man Leigh and her cat Missy.

  3. Eliene says:

    How wonderful that you & Pete are able to colllaborate on something you are both passionate about. Two beautiful souls coming together….wow, what a book it is going to be.

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Eliene)))Here’s what Pete wrote along with his introduction & first chapter,
      “… will send you a chapter or two of the book I have been writing. I wrote it in English and now it is translated to Portuguese for the Brasilian people that I have been teaching over the years. The book title is, How plants are Born; a story about relationships. It explores how the 5 elements in constant relationship bring about the birth of plants and all that we know. I call it a techno poetic book. I hope you like it and please send any criticism as it hasn’t been published yet. If you feel inspired to do a drawing or painting to include in the book it would be a blessing as several others are participating with paintings and I am doing some drawings to help explain and to break up the text so that people don’t just pick it up and keep reading, without time for inner reflection. The reflection is in fact the most important part as that is our individual experience of reality; without it there is just information.”
      So inspiring!

  4. Martine Bos says:

    Hope your friends memories are as beautiful as this bag………….

  5. Liz A says:

    oh la … tucked in amongst images and words … a book to illustrate! How incredibly wonderful!!

  6. Marti says:

    Memory bags, moons, Mo magic ala the illustrations for Peter Webb’s book…All = magic and well done Mo re the book. I’m sure that Peter’s book will be wonderful but your illustrations will truly make it a special book. It is this caring, healing, insightful magic of yours that carries Julie through her days but also you and Rod as you walk the land and find ways back to being with friends, holding onto what matters and thinking of what will be, as we go forward into this brave new world…

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Marti))) this time of slowing down and going inwards is giving us all time to dream and recalibrate how we look after each other & our beautiful broken world.

  7. deemallon says:

    So glad to hear about Julie’s recovery! The bag is so much more than craft since you bring in elements of magic. Kudos on the illustration/book collaboration. How perfect!

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Dee))) I tried to get these materials to marry into a bag back at the beginning of the year but they wouldn’t work ’til I realized it was the memory keeper for Julie who is such a fabulous stitcher & seamstress. She taught me how to make a living out of my hands when we first met in Nimbin back in 1976 & showed me how to make a Tiffany lampshade. She could make one in 10 hours out of stretch velvet & lace but of course my first attempt with absolutely no sewing skills was using a double sided woven Chinese silk that had a stripe in the pattern on the back, have no idea how many hundred’s of stitches it took to get those stripes vertical and the points meeting perfectly along the edge but it took about 60 hours to make… most people can make a bag or lampshade in a day… if you want to know the most circuitous route to making anything, just ask hehe! Have my fingers x-ed to see Julie again, she is still terminal, the steroids are doing a good job keeping the inflammation down round the tumours in her brain, lungs and bones and will continue to do so until they the side effects get too hard.

      • deemallon says:

        Well you are nothing if not persistent. And willing to put in the time for a museum-worthy object.

        I misheard about Julie’s recovery. I am so sorry. I really hope you will be able to see her again and have a proper goodbye.

  8. Els says:

    Oh Mo, I can imagine how you are stitching this bag. (the little piece I made for the friend in the hospice served her well for over a month, worth every stitch !) It is a beauty of love and stitch !!!

    Great plans for the book with your friend Peter ! things come, sooner or later, it wasn’t the right moment yet, haha
    Oh my ! (drool) the moons from Glennis aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ❤

  9. shiborigirl says:

    mo- a beautiful love filled post and many new directions. new moons too! love the bag and the recovering of your friend. those old piers are mesmerizing…can’t stop looking at them.

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Glennis))) thanks again for making your beautiful moons! I need to take more photos of the Wetlands, there are so many great vistas, it’s a brilliant piece of landscape design. X fingers we will have time to see Julie before she leaves this mortal coil, thank goodness for in home hospice care & the wonder of modern medicine!

  10. Carol says:

    Oh Mo, such a beautiful, love filled post! Your memory bag for Julie is magnificent, your fingers and heart work wonders. (((Mo)))

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Carol))) I’m wondering whether she would enjoy reading the letters she sent to me from England back in 1977 when we all used to write letters, I think I still have them… after a bit of a rummage through the old cards and letters they’re not showing up so that’s an easy decision!

  11. vdbolyard says:

    mo, the bag is beautiful. and i love your rock visiting a stream, and the very good news (congratulations) that you will be illustrating for someone who you admire and esteem!

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Velma))) I finished the bag this morning, the decks are cleared making space for the first illustration which is starting to form up for Pete’s book, it’s very exciting!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    So beautiful – I must take a stroll down there soon. When the kids were little we went and planted dozens of those trees there. Fabulous to see the bush growing up and creating a new wonderland!
    How are you guys doing? I am locked up at home forever.

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Liz))) all the trees are so big now at Sydney Park, it’s hard to remember what it was like back in the 80’s when it was a scary barren wasteland that I would only visit in the company of friends with a big dog! Have been walking down there every Wednesday with Madeleine from Artsite, she’s working out the logistics of opening the gallery again soon but just on the weekends. Thankfully gardening is still deemed an essential service so we’re getting by, lost a couple of indoor plant hire jobs early on in the social isolation (Canada Bay Club and The Illustrated Man tattoo studio) but our biggest outdoor garden took up the slack by asking us to visit every week to tame their massive wall of Bougainvillea down on the waterfront in Birchgrove. Hard work but almost done, we were hoping to leave it for the next gardeners to tackle when we move up to Blackheath with a bit of luck by the end of the year. We’re so ready to retire, Sydney is getting too mad with all this tunnelling for Westconnex. They will start digging under our fragile old house in June. If you feel like a cuppa we have the x’s on the floor, Richard was relieved to see I had moved his x back a bit hehe!

  13. Barry says:

    Hi MC – you put so much thought, meaning and love into your memory bag. Go well. B

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Barry))) thanks for the good words, it’s all finished & ready to go to the post office tomorrow morning, just need to take some better photos!

  14. jude says:

    glorious! as always your details are astounding.
    At least international mail is working for you, I have had many lost packages…

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Jude))) this one was surprisingly challenging with so many ugly stages to work through, I thought it would have more beading, feathers and shells but the hand woven materials simply refused to let them in! Glennis’s beautiful Blue Moons took quite awhile to get here but they made it across the wide blue, will have a go at stitching one per moon cycle starting with the dark of the moon next weekend for the next 13 moons, they are very inspiring and so are you, they may become a quilt or a soft book or a series of 13 moonlets… not sure what a moonlet is but will find out!

  15. ravenandsparrow says:

    Lucky Peter to have you for his illustrator…soul and beauty guaranteed for his book! The bag for Julie is exquisite. The texture speaks for itself and the color is a perfect holder of memory. I hope you will see her soon. Lucky you to be the recipient of those incredible moons.

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Dana))) Peter is sending me his chapters two at a time to read and edit, he is such an inspiration! Some rough sketches are happening of an elemental seed map/mandala grounded in plant energy. Those 13 moons will keep me happily stitching for the next year & am hoping to see Julie in the not too faraway!

  16. Acey says:

    Love the recurring theme, person to person, of long term dreams coming to fruition. Also love the incredible bag you’re making for Julie – every knot holding its own unique memory.

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Acey))) when it comes down to the essential elements of a lifetime, it’s the dear friends who are the spark that make it all worthwhile

  17. Lana says:

    Mo I am so happy for you. Your work is exquisite and has a beautiful sense of Nostalgia. I love things that look old and have a sense of history. I am so happy that peter has asked you to illustrate his book. I remember peter from the “old days” and still have poems he wrote back then. I am Sure the collaboration of a book between you both will produce something beautiful and memorable.❤️

  18. […] Mo from her blog “It’s Crow Time” wrote a beautiful post that included some moons and a wonderful bag she made for a friend. She’s been a long time and patient moonmate…thanks Mo! Hers is a blog I recommend subscribing to by email. […]

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